In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey

Payam Akhavan. House of Anansi (PGW, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $15.95 trade paper (385p) ISBN 978-1-4870-0200-8
This publication of the 2017 CBC Massey Lecture delivered by Akhavan (Reducing Genocide to Law), a former U.N. prosecutor at the Hague, is a call for action, a powerful examination of rampant trampling of human rights around the world, and a memoir of Akhavan’s journey from child refugee to international lawyer. One of Akhavan’s childhood friends, executed by Iranian revolutionaries because she spoke out against them in a high school essay, inspired his passion for human rights and freedom. It took him from Canada to Harvard Law School to the United Nations, where he was a prosecutor in trials of war criminals from the Yugoslav Wars and Rwandan genocide. His accounts of atrocities are horrifying, and he combines the history of the conflicts with intimate portraits of their impact along with sensitive, intelligent analyses of what went wrong and why. He also looks at humanitarian crises including the Holocaust, the use of child soldiers in Uganda, and the war in Syria. It’s ugly, but also an incredible story of shared humanity. Akhavan isn’t naive, but he sees a solution to all these crises in the belief that love, not bombs, will be the way to a better future. Readers will be both shattered and inspired. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/15/2018
Release date: 10/01/2017
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